Good morning church family,
Here is your devotion for the week:
There is a dichotomy that exists in the minds of many Christians concerning the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It is as if there is no continuity between the two and God has acted one way in the Old Testament whereas He has acted completely different in the New. One idea that seems to support this view is that people were saved through works of the Law in the Old Testament, but now people are saved by the grace that has come through Christ’s work on the cross. However, this dichotomy is false and leads to an inconsistent and less than holy view of the character of God.
How were people saved in the Old Testament? Were they saved through keeping the works of the Law? If so, then how much of it did they have to keep in order to get into Heaven? The truth is that any violation of the Law is enough to keep someone out of Heaven for all eternity. The Old Testament saint would have had to keep the Law perfectly in order to have a standing before God. Well, what about the sacrifices? Were they not supposed to provide forgiveness for these infractions of the Law? According to the Bible, sacrifices were only a “shadow of the good things to come and…can never make perfect those who draw near…for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Heb 10:1, 4).
So, how did the Old Testament saint get saved? In Abraham’s case, it was his faith that was credited to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). Also, the Ten Commandments are prefaced by the statement, “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt…” (Ex 20:2). Before the Law was ever given the people were being reminded of God’s incredible grace. The fact is that people were saved by grace through faith in the Old Testament just as they are in the New (cf. Eph 2:8).
But, how could God show grace to people who had committed such terrible sins and still be considered good Himself? If a judge were to acquit a guilty murderer simply because he felt sorry for him, would he be considered to be a good judge? No! Then, how could God forgive people like Moses (who was a murderer) and David (who was an adulterer and murderer) and still be considered good?
The answer to this dilemma lies in the cross of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us that it is not only New Testament saints that are saved through Jesus’ death. His death, while an act of love, was also a demonstration of God’s righteousness because He had passed over sins that had been previously committed (Rom 3:25-26). So, David’s sins and Moses’ sins, as well as our own, were all punished on the cross and paid for by Jesus.
While the New Testament may be the fulfillment of the Old, it certainly does not display a different view of the character of God. In both testaments God is shown to be righteous, and in both He is shown to love sinners. In both cases, His righteousness and His love meet hand in hand at the cross where He is shown to be “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus,” (Rom 3:26). We serve one God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Let us worship Him with praise.